Federalism and Multi-Level Governance

Graffiti of a building that happens to be a parking

Federalism and multi-level governance are at the heart of contemporary politics. In industrialized liberal democracies, the decentralization of political power requires the presence of intergovernmental relations as an important component of the public policy process. Responding to major contemporary global challenges such as global warming and population movements therefore often involves the participation of different levels of government within a State. Federalism and multi-level governance in industrialized liberal democracies also raise questions of legitimacy, constitutionalism and democratic practices related to the conditions under which communities can integrate and leave political blocs. In democratizing states, the decentralization of political power is usually a necessary condition for people's engagement in processes of significant political and institutional change. In these States, federalism and multi-level governance are typically called upon to manage significant challenges of rebuilding political institutions, accommodating cultural and territorial diversity, economic and social development and shaping democracy. Without decentralization of political power, few processes of transition to democracy can succeed. The Centre's research focus on federalism and multi-level governance therefore makes it possible to address both the major contemporary political issues such as democracy and political legitimacy as well as the most pressing issues such as the environment, diversity and development.






Selected Publications and Activities


Daniel Béland, André Lecours, Gregory Marchildon, Haizhen Mou and Rose Olfert, Fiscal Federalism and Equalization Policy in Canada. Political and Economic Dimensions (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017).

Refereed articles

Daniel Béland, Catarina Ianni Segatto and André Lecours“The fiscal politics of resource revenue: federalism, oil  ownership, and territorial conflict in Brazil and Canada,” Territory, Politics, Governance, forthcoming.

André Lecours, “Dynamic De/centralization in Canada, 1867-2010,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 49 (1), 2019, 57-83.

Daniel Béland and André Lecours, “Federalism, Policy Change, and Social Security in Belgium: Explaining the Decentralization of Family Allowances in the Sixth State Reform,”  Journal of European Social Policy, vol.28, no.1, 2018, pp.55-69. 

Daniel Béland and André Lecours, “Ideas, Institutions, and the Politics of Federalism and Territorial Redistribution,”Canadian Journal of Political Science, vol.49, no.4, 2016, 681-701.

André Lecours and Erika Arban, “Why Federalism Does Not Always Take Shape: The Cases of Italy and Nepal,” Regional and Federal Studies, vol.25, no.2, 2015, 183-201.

André Lecours, “The Question of Federalism in Nepal,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism, vol.44, no.4, 2014, 609-632.

Daniel Béland and André Lecours, “Fiscal Federalism and American Exceptionalism: Why Is There No Federal Equalization Program in the United States?”  Journal of Public Policy, vol.34, no.2, 2014, 303-329.

Daniel Béland and André Lecours, “The Institutional Politics of Territorial Redistribution: Federalism and Equalization Policy in Australia and Canada,” Canadian Journal of Political Science, vol.46, no.1, 2013, 93-113.

Daniel Béland and André Lecours, “The Ideational Dimension of Federalism: The “Australian Model” and the Politics of Equalization in Canada,” Australian Journal of Political Science, vol.46, no.2, 2011, 199-212. (Equal participation of authors).

Daniel Béland and André Lecours, “Logiques institutionnelles et politiques publiques: Le programme de péréquation d’hier à aujourd’hui,” Politiques et sociétés, vol. 30, no.2, 2010, 3-20.

André Lecours and Daniel Béland “Federalism and Fiscal Policy: The Politics of Equalization in Canada,” (with Daniel Béland) Publius. The Journal of Federalism, vol. 40, no.4, 2010, 569-596.

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